The legacy of Serena Williams, who next week will compete in her first Grand Slam since her fiery clash with a U.S. Open umpire, will not be harmed by the infamous feud that tarnished the NY final, American great Chris Evert said on Wednesday.
Fellow American great Chris Evert said the shadow of the US Open final controversy would not hang over Williams' career.
Wozniacki proved she can still compete by winning in Beijing in October but whether she can cope with the gruelling two-week slog of a Grand Slam remains to be seen, and she was bundled out of the Auckland Classic last week in round two.
Amid unsavoury scenes, Osaka went on to win her maiden grand slam title. She has a gentle opener against the unseeded German Tatjana Maria, but could play world No1 Simona Halep in the fourth round and is in the same half as Naomi Osaka, who beat her in the final of the US Open in September. He expects her to be in the title mix going forward.
While Evert thinks Serena is "raring to go" as she looks to equal Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam title record of 24, she predicts strong challenges from the players who stopped the American reaching that tally a year ago - Japan's Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open final, and Angelique Kerber who trounced her in the Wimbledon title match.
Osaka suffered a straight-sets loss to Lesia Tsurenko in the semi-final of the Brisbane International and withdrew from the Sydney International in frustration.
"I feel like if there's one thing I should be able to do it's draw a tennis ball", the Olympic gold medalist, 37, explained. In that match, Williams infamously got into a verbal argument with umpire Carlos Ramos over his calls and his biases, while Osaka, a worthy champion, was booed and reduced to tears at the podium when she accepted the title. Her experiences have been a learning experience for me.
"I have no reason to believe that Sabalenka will not win more than one Grand Slam. Why?"
The Australian Open could be a return to normalcy for tennis, or it could simply reiterate that the new age is here to stay.
Williams missed the chance to equal the record in both the Wimbledon and US Open finals last season and says she is now avoiding focusing on the numbers.
"I always have insane big goals but I like to keep them to myself". I will have a few more years of tennis and then I want to improve in other ways.